04 September 2010

William's Top Ten Sci-Fi Weapons

These are my Top Ten Science-Fiction Weapons.

The Blade Runner Detective Special M2019 .44 PK-D. Love this gun, it haunts me at night...no...really...it does....

This the 10mm M-41A Pulse Rifle, one of the best, most realistic sci-fi guns ever. I think I would take this to Iraq or North Korea...watch out Kim Jong il!

The Terminator Westinghouse M25A1 5mm Phased Plasma Rifle. A realistic military view of a DEW rifle.

The M-590 USMC 7.62x51mm Rifle from Space:Above and Beyond. I firmly believe that this rifle gave birth to the HALO MA5B rifle.
Think about.

The WASP 9mm Revolver from Avatar. My father loves old-school wheelguns...and seeing this one one-screen made me smile.

The StA-52 LAR from the first KILLZONE game. This weapon uses a bullpup drum magazine, and a single-shotgun...used this over the ISA M82...partly to watch the loading animation

The HALO 3 ODST featured a rare concept, a caseless SMG that is suppressed. Love to fire this one, just to hear the sound effect.

For some reason, I love the Starship Troopers Morita rifle. It makes no sense, and the movie is...well....but damn! The Morita is a sweet gun!

The Seburo M5 5.45x18mm featured in the Ghost in the Shell Manga. I dare you to read the Manga, and not fall in love with it!

The REF Mars Gallant H-90 Particle Beam Gun system from Robotech: The New Generation. In 1985, when I was watching Scott Bernard hunt Invid on occupied Earth, I wanted to be right beside him with one of these! What was so groundbreaking about the H-90 was that it could go from pistol to rifle with a few attachments.


  1. I like the REF Mars Gallant H-90 too!! It and the Terminator plasma rifle are the only "ray-guns" that made the list- sad that so many SF examples of energy weapons are so unrealistic. Many people seem to prefer bullets nowadays...

    The Mars Gallant was powered by disposable capacitors- similar to the "laser bullets" I described in my comments on the "Where's my blaster?" post. Particle beams are one of my favorite concepts for an energy weapon- high energy beams of electrons, protons, or ions, damaging the target with a heat, a burst ionizing radiation, and a circuit scrambling EMP. I have got to build me one of those. Realistic energy weapons are a lot more brutal and scarier than most depictions in fiction.

    The Terminator plasma rifles lose a few point in my book for being "plasma" rifles- "plasma" guns are pretty unrealistic. Still, as military DEW rifles go, it was pretty cool.

    Christopher Phoenix

  2. I always wished that Matchbox had made a Martian Gallant H-90...

  3. Hello, William!

    You should do a post on particle beam weapons sometime. Many of the most interesting ray-guns are particle beam weapons, and some good info can be found on the web. Particle beam weapons are widespread in SF, with such fantastic sounding names as lightning ray, proton gun, ion cannon, etc.

    Right now the book I am reading, Gridlinked by Neil Asher, features a wide variety of handheld weapons. The most powerful is the so-called "Anti-Photon Weapon," which, despite its name, is in fact a proton gun firing a beam of protons at near-light-speed. When fired, the proton beam makes a violet flash that burns the target away. Pulse-guns fire ionized gas or aluminum dust pulses, and most handguns and rifles are pulse-guns.

    A high-powered charged particle beam could easily and quickly kill a human or robot. This is a different type of energy weapon than a laser. The beam can penetrate fog and smoke that would weaken laser beams, providing all-weather capability. Charged particle beams are exceedingly lethal, capable of super-heating and exploding targets while delivering a lethal dose of ionizing radiation and a powerful EMP. In real life, charged particle beams have been considered for their capability to disable electronics without necessarily blowing holes in things. However, they are just as capable of "hard kill" as they are of "soft kill".

    Here are some links you will find useful if you want to research PBW's for a future post.

    This paper was written in 1984, discussing PBWs for disabling Soviet ICBM's. It is an interesting study of the science of PBW's and ion cannons.
    Indispensable for anyone interested in ray-guns.


    Now some SF sites that discuss PBW's. (Not as authoritative as the science paper, but still useful).




    And Wikipedia, of course.



    SCIENCE OVERLOAD!!! "brain explodes" Okay, that is enough science for today. I already had enough science today with my general science course.

    Christopher Phoenix

  4. The particle beam post is in the pipe, maybe a few months off...the first time I remember reading about Anti-Proton weapon was during when I was watching Andromeda.
    I will be doing a post on unusual weaponary soon, and I will be including such weapons like Anti-matter and Anti-Proton.
    Thanks for the research! Makes my job easier...

  5. HI, William... I'm glad I could be of help!!

    One thing to bear in mind with antimatter bombs is that it is downright hard to get a decent explosion in the vacuum of space. When a chunk of matter meets a chunk of antimatter, they annihilate at the point of contact, but the resultant blast pushes the matter and antimatter apart. It is much easier to extract the energy in a propulsion system, and then send the vehicle crashing into the target- but future warhead design might make photon torpedoes practical. Perhaps you could divide the antimatter into chunks and have them all collide at the same time.

    Cities in Flight had a very nasty antimatter weapon- a race that dominated the Milky Way galaxy known as the Orions or something like that had ships that were basically particle accelerators. When they arrived above a hostile planet, they would spray antimatter streams down toward the planet- when the beams hit the planets atmosphere, the antimatter annihilated, releasing deadly gamma rays the sterilized the planets surface. The sky would light up in deadly light- like a killer aurora- and you would be dosed with radiation until you were fried.

    Even this was no match for a wandering spindizzy propelled planet- this planet had some secret weapon of terror that burned out every neural connection in the Orion's brains, killing them all and fusing their electronic devices, but not before everyone on the planets surface was rendered infertile. Not that that mattered- the universe was coming to an end, and the characters had travelled to the physical center of the universe in order to ensure the birth of several baby universes. Gods.... SUPER-SCIENCE!!!!!!!

    By the gods of all stars, that vacuum tube glowing dimly under the control panel in the futuristic control center of an antigravity planet was just strange. Here we are, at the physical center of the universe during the last days of the universe, controlling devices we cannot began to imagine, with AI's telling us what to do, and we cannot invent anything better than a vacuum tube for our electronics. Still, they were using slide rules, too- I want to learn to use a slide rule.

    Science fiction is fun- but sometimes writers just make things up- read this essay by David Langford, called One Gadget Too Far. He warns against the dangers of using technobabble gadgets to solve plot complications- or overloading your characters with gadgets that solve their every problem. Your characters should solve their problems with futuristic ray-guns- I mean hard work and attitude. In the military, it is well known that it isn't the equipment that counts, it is the skill and morale of the soldiers themselves. Substandard soldiers with better equipment will always lose to motivated and skilled soldiers with inferior equipment.

    The "Gadget Too Far" essay

    And where is my Ray-Gun?!! It is 2011 already, for fraks sake!!!

    Christopher Phoenix

  6. @The first Anonymous post:

    I agree that it is a shame how laser-guns seem to have gone the way of the dodo in sci-fi writing. However, I feel the need to challenge your opinion of what is "realistic" and what is not.

    First: particle beams are *not* realistic. Beams of electrons? That's called electricity, buddy. It doesn't flow through air. Protons are found inside nuclei, and they don't like to be removed. Positrons might be plausible, except that they would instantaneously be absorbed into the nearest atom (air or gun) and annihilated. Ions are generally atoms or small molecules; how do you propose to make any sort of coherent "beam" out of a particle that massive?

    Secondly: "Plasma" guns are more realistic than you might think. The big screwup here is that nobody outside of a physics lab seems to understand just what plasma is. Plasma is a gaseous (no definite volume or shape) state of matter in which some of the particles are ionized, lending it certain properties which make it distinct from those of a solid, liquid, or gas. In the loosest sense, we already have "plasma weapons" in flamethrowers, napalm, and incendiary grenades. In a stricter sense, they are still not far off in coming. Military research programs are currently dumping funding into something called "laser channeling," which would allow us to point and fire an *aimed* bolt of lightning.

    The thing to remember is that real science will always continue to blow our minds in ways no science fiction writer can think of, because there is simply nothing as strange or awe-inspiring as the universe in which we live.

  7. Where's the ZF-1?!

  8. Making this list was like Sophie's Choice! I do have respect for the ZF-1, and hope to honor it in many posts here on FWS. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. NOOOOO where is the Star Wars DC-17 Clone Commando Blaster Rifle?!

  10. No railguns? For shame!

  11. I LOVE this website,so much si fi+! sorry,about the plus sign,my computer keyboard is messed up+!

  12. =+ ++P+> ps,my father was a marine,too+! fudge,the typos+!

  13. The Green Hornet Sting from the 1960s TV show should be on their.
    The weapon send out extremely intense waves of vibration enough to bust open a door, split a tommy gun, go threw 3+ inches of solid steel and [though never demonstrated] effortlessly split human skulls.

  14. I will be adding the Green Hornet Sting to the list of sci-fi weapons! Thanks for the information!

  15. This time we are playing Half-Life (well, the flash version at least), with a real gun. Using accelerometers and LabVIEW..best laser tag sets

  16. NERD Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!